Rainey to retire from Walnut Creek council



Spunky Walnut Creek Councilwoman Sue Rainey has announced she will not seek re-election in November, a move certain to spark a lively competition for the seat.

An open contest is always more appealing than challenging an incumbent.

See the full story by Elisabeth Nardi at http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_15395335?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com

I will miss Sue Rainey. She is funny and direct, an irresistible combination for a columnist.

Sue inspired one of my favorite columns of all time, which I have posted below, from January 2005:

One Contra Costa politico failed to see the humor in celebrity ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura’s outrageous spewfest last week at the Contra Costa Council’s annual dinner.During Ventura’s rant, er, speech, Walnut Creek Councilwoman Sue Rainey, who helped raise cash for the event, repeatedly gasped and covered her face with her hands. At one point, she held a water glass over her head and threatened to pour it.

She mouthed to her table companions her distress, and tried in vain to convince them to drag the ex-wrestler and Navy Seal off the stage. (Her husband, ex-Contra Costa County sheriff and state Sen. Dick Rainey, looked as though he wanted to crawl under the table.)

By the time Ventura relinquished the microphone — after his rendition of famed boxer Mohammed Ali’s 1960s tune “I Am the Greatest” — Rainey had become part of the show.What set her off?

To start, he insulted, by job or party affiliation, most of the business leaders and elected leaders in the room. Some of the 450 people in attendance contributed big checks as sponsors and paid, in part, Ventura’s speaking fee.

And Ventura told the room that he would defy the organizers’ order to refrain from talking about his Hollywood castmate Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Isn’t that like inviting Billy Graham and telling him he can’t mention The Big Guy? (That’s God, folks, not Arnold.)

It was false advertising, Rainey insists.

“Mr. Ventura’s (handler) told us, ‘You’re going to love him. He’s very entertaining,'” Rainey said. “I just get very sensitive when I have sold people and the sponsors on a particular show and that’s not how it turns out.”

The council asked Ventura to refrain from mentioning Indian gaming or his TV ads criticizing Schwarzenegger’s stance on the matter because one of the sponsors, ChevronTexaco, is embroiled in a casino dispute in Richmond.

“If we had had someone to balance Mr. Ventura, it might not have been so bad,” Sue Rainey says. “If we ever invited him again, we’d do a point-counterpoint.”

Meanwhile, Rainey promises to retire her performance.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Lots of us will miss Sue Rainey’s honesty and sense of humor, shone especially while presiding over the Council. These traits were instrumental in giving Walnut Creek an on-time 2010-2012 Budget, two weeks ahead of schedule.

  • Arne

    Sue’s ‘retiring’ from the Walnut Creek City Council will not only be a loss for Walnut Creek, but for all of us throughout the County that have enjoyed working with her over the years! She is one classy lady with a great sense of humor and so many of us wish we could get done in our cities what Sue has been able to do in Walnut Creek.

    Now Sue and her husband Richard will be able to finally enjoy so real vacation time!